Quarantine Mode: The Good News “Tonic” You Need

April 23, 2020

By Julijana Capone

In 2019, musician David Byrne launched his “tonic for tumultuous times,” the online magazine Reasons to Be Cheerful (which you should subscribe to here), featuring stories that weren’t bleeding and leading as it were, but rather spreading the good-news gospel about positive change in culture, and more around the world. It was—and continues to be—refreshing.

In the spirit of Byrne’s project, we’ve compiled a roundup of recent stories that made us happy, hopeful, and left us cheering for the music community in Canada. Right now amidst a global pandemic, we need as much good news as we can get, so here’s your “tonic” for the week.

Matt Masters’s Curbside Concerts coming to a cul-de-sac near you. Photo courtesy of artist. 

1. Calgary Musician Gets Creative to Bring Music to the People—From A Safe Distance

With music venues closed for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, musicians have been getting creative to play gigs and keep bringing music to the people.

Calgary country favourite Matt Masters launched his Curbside Concerts in response to the crisis, playing songs from a stage on top of his minivan to provide a live music experience from a safe distance, Global News reports. 

“I make my living in the clubs and so I can’t go to the club, so I can’t work,” he told Global. “So I was inspired by photographers, taking telephoto photographs of families on their porch. So I decided to do a musical version of the same thing…Artists are part of a community but we’re also business owners, we’re taxpayers and we’re doing our best to work in this challenging time.”

Read the full study here and you can book a Curbside Concert here.

2. It Takes 13 Minutes for Music to Positively Impact Your Wellbeing, According to Study

In a new study by The British Academy of Sound Therapy, 13 minutes was noted as the optimum amount of time to achieve several health benefits from listening to music: relaxation, concentration, and to process or release sadness.

While 13 minutes was the sweet spot in three of the study’s daily allowances, it took just nine minutes to feel happy and improve energy levels. So if you’re feeling a bit down, listen to a few songs. It may make you feel better—and that’s a scientific fact!

Read the full study here.

The Good Will Social Club in Winnipeg. Photo credit: Tyler Elvers.

3. Winnipeg Music Venue Asks Community for Help, Community Responds in Big Way

Last week, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to help Winnipeg music venue, The Good Will Social Club, raise $45,000 to help pay rent expenses during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Everyone we know has been impacted by this shutdown,” said a statement on the page. “We’re not the only ones. We see our community struggling: our colleagues in the hospitality and entertainment industry are out of work; members of the music and performing arts communities have lost gigs for the foreseeable future. Knowing all this, it feels difficult reaching out to you.”

With all revenues at a standstill since their closure on March 16, the GoFundMe was launched to avoid a potential lockout from their landlord.

Since the fundraiser started on April 19, over 1,100 people have helped raise $59,642 for the venue. “If we had any doubts about continuing this labour of love, they have been outweighed by the encouragement we received from our community,” read a response on Sunday after hitting their fundraising target in less than 24 hours. “Although the Good Will Social Club currently sits closed, your generosity ensures that when we are able to safely reopen, we can and we will. We accept your donations with humility and responsibility. Thank you for putting your faith in us.”

A true testament to the power of music and community. You can read the venue’s full statement on the GoFundMe page here.

Buffy Sainte-Marie performing at the 2015 Calgary Folk Music Festival. Photo credit: Brandon Wallis.

4. “Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble” Coronavirus Benefit Raises Over $6M for Food Banks Canada

The star-studded charity event broadcast across multiple networks brought in 140,000 donations and raised over $6 million for the Food Banks Canada network, according to FYI Music News.

Featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, Michael Buble, Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, Arkells, and many other Canadian stars, the event also included the world premiere of ArtistsCAN’s multi-artist “Lean on Me” charity single.

Read the full story here.

5. Bandcamp to Forgo Revenue on May 1 to Support Artists

On May 1, Bandcamp is once again waiving its revenue share for 24 hours to help artists affected by COVID-19.

The platform, which normally takes 10-15% on digital items and 10% on physical goods, ran the same 24-hour initiative on March 20 with fans buying 800,000 items and paying artists $4.3 million USD in a single day, according to Exclaim.

Artists and labels are also offering special releases, merch and more for the event. You can see the full list of what’s on offer here.

If you’re still in the position to do so, May 1 is a good day to grab some tunes. Mark your calendar and head to Bandcamp here.

Update: Bandcamp will be waiving fees again on the first Friday of each month through to July.

Apollo Ghosts are (from left to right) Amanda P, Adrian Teacher, and Robbie N. Photo courtesy of band.

6. Vancouver’s Apollo Ghosts Release Charity Album to Support DTES Response

Music communities across the country have been stepping up to support the vulnerable amid the COVID-19 crisis.

As Exclaim reports, Vancouver indie-rock band Apollo Ghosts released the charity album, Local Delivery Only, in support of DTES Response and at-risk people in the Downtown Eastside. The record features cover songs from some of the band’s favourite Vancouver artists, including Dead Soft, Destroyer, Jay Arner, and Japandroids.

Apollo Ghosts will donate $1 from each free (yes, free) download to the DTES Response during the week of April 23-30, so grab it now here.

Have a good music news story you want us to share? We want to hear about it! Email juljana.capone@nmc.ca. (Or just email her to say hi. She’s been self-isolating for two months and she’s going stir crazy.)

About the Author

Julijana Capone

Originally from Winnipeg, Julijana is NMC’s senior publicist and the managing editor of Amplify. In addition to her role at NMC, she is the founder of Light of Day Publicity, a company she formed to promote the work of emerging Canadian artists.

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